The term “hot seat” is no stranger to college football fans. Hot seat talk usually revolves around coaches, but quarterbacks can be grouped into the same conversation. Without a good coach or quarterback, it’s not easy to win games on the FBS level.
When we sit down to iron out our Top 25 Poll each year at Athlon Sports, we are trying to project the final year-end standings not build a preseason power poll. It might be a small and subtle difference but an important one to acknowledge.
Injuries are a big part of any college football season. Just ask the coaching staffs at Maryland, Missouri or USC.The Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries last year, while the Tigers played 2012 without the services of standout running back Henry Josey. USC lost defensive end Devon Kennard in the preseason, which played a role in the Trojans’ defense finishing seventh in the Pac-12 in yards allowed.
The SEC is home to some of college football’s top talent at running back in 2017. Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and LSU each make an appearance in the top 30 running back tandems for the upcoming season. The Crimson Tide own the deepest depth chart at this position, but the Bulldogs take the top spot in tandems with the return of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
Ranking all 130 college football teams is no easy task, but with the first Saturday of action on Aug. 26 less than two weeks away, it’s time to see how every FBS program stacks up for 2017. At the top, Alabama leads the way as Athlon’s projected national champion. The Crimson Tide lost to Clemson on the final play of last year’s title game, and even though both sides of the ball have a few holes to fill, coach Nick Saban’s program is still the team to beat. Ohio State is a close No.
Making preseason predictions or assembling rankings for all 130 college football teams is never easy. After all, it’s impossible to be 100 percent accurate at the end of any season. The emergence of breakout players, injuries, bad luck are just a few reasons why some teams don’t live up to the preseason hype.
College football’s 2017 season starts on Aug. 26 and concludes with the national championship on Jan. 8 in Atlanta. The season is less than 15 days away and fall practice is ongoing for all 130 teams around the nation, which means depth chart changes, quarterback battles, freshmen and breakout players are under the microscope.